Posted: February 16, 2018

Can you spot the difference between a dormant tree and a dying or dead one? It’s not always easy to tell.

Trees go through a dormant season when the weather gets colder. The dormant season can provide opportunities for tree care techniques like tree pruning and your trees have a chance to conserve their energy and prepare for the upcoming spring.

It’s possible, however, that your tree is exhibiting issues of decay and poor health. If spotted early enough, the situation can be remedied, but it must be spotted.

Here are a few tips to tell whether your tree is dormant or needs serious tree preservation help.

Check for Budding

A healthy tree will still have small leaf buds protruding from its branches. The buds are preparing themselves to bloom in spring. If you notice your tree doesn’t have any buds or the buds it does have look dry and weak, you could have dead branches on your tree, which can be an indicator of a dead or dying tree. 

Check the Trunk

Healthy trees replace their bark in cycles. If your tree is healthy you should notice fresh and uncompromised bark. If, however, you notice cracks in your tree’s bark or it appears that it has shed its bark without replacing it with a fresh layer, it can also be a sign of a dead or dying tree. In fact, it’s one of the main signs arborists look for.

The Scratch Test

The scratch test helps you check your tree’s health by peeking underneath the surface of its bark. Take a knife and scratch off a small area of tree bark. If you have a healthy tree, you should notice a moist bright green layer underneath it. If, however, you spot a dry and decayed-looking brown layer, you could be looking at a dead or dying tree.

The Final Test

The most important tree preservation step you can take is to contact Maier Tree and Lawn for an assessment done by an ISA Certified Arborist. This strategy will provide a definitive answer along with a plan to effectively handle the results of the assessment.

To learn more about tree preservation or to schedule an appointment at your Winona, MN home, please contact us at (507) 454-7000.

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